As Police Rosters Shrink, Block Watch Groups Grow


Neighborhoods across the country are using Twitter, blogs, e-mail and street patrols to help thwart crime, reports the Huffington Post. While some groups form after break-ins or muggings, there are signs of increased interest as law enforcement agencies are strained by layoffs and furloughs amid ballooning budget deficits.

More than 20,000 block watch groups are registered on the National Sheriffs’ Association Web site, compared to about 5,000 just four years ago, said Chris Tutko, the association’s director of neighborhood watch programs. “There’s a big push on to learn how to do it and how to get people involved,” says Tutko, who trains law enforcers in running watch groups. In most cities, block watch members must be trained by police in how to identify and respond to criminal behavior. The first step: Talk to your neighbors, police say.

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